5 Best Electric Dog Fences in 2017

best electric dog fence

If you have a pet dog, then you know that it needs plenty of room to roam about. While not all communities will have their respective dog parks, we can still help them play as freely as possible in our own backyards. However, there are certain areas in our backyard that are clearly off limits even to our beloved pets, both for their own safety and the aesthetics of our property. Rather than putting a physical barrier in these areas, a much better approach is to install an invisible fence where we can train our dogs not to go near these areas. As such, we’re giving you the 5 best electronic dog fences in 2017. We guarantee you’ll love our selection.

5 Best Electronic Dog Fences

1Premium Wireless Dog Fence with Radio and In-Ground Cord Electric Wi-Fi Transmitter by Bark Solution

One of the most effective invisible fence systems we’ve seen is the Premium Wireless Dog Fence from Bark Solution. This wireless pet containment system boasts of an in-ground cord that is capable of covering up to a third of an acre of your property although you can actually extend the coverage up to 5 acres. What makes the Bark Solution so effective is its patented transmitting capabilities boasting of only the latest in radio wave transmission technology. Also built into the transmitter are 5 different levels of correction that includes both vibration correction and static shock correction. For those who are averse to the idea of using static electricity on their pets, Bark Solution certifies that its patented static shock technology is guaranteed never to hurt your beloved pooch. The tiny shocks are just enough to divert the attention of your pooch so that it stops right on its tracks and turns back and away from the perimeter wall unseen to the naked eye. The Bark Solution comes with a fully rechargeable receiver fully integrated into a waterproof collar. The collar itself can be fully adjusted to provide for a more comfortable fit which, together with its lightweight design, should be easily carried by your pooch.

What We Like about It – The modest range of the Bark Solution transmitter is one of those things that people love about it. The correction levels also give you absolute control over the training of your pooch so you can determine the correct level of stimulation.

2In-Ground Fence System by SportDOG Brand

If you think the 5 acre range of the Bark Solution is awesome, just wait until you see the 100 acre range of the SportDOG In-Ground Fence System. Yes, that’s right. A whopping 100 acres of coverage. While the kit itself only provides wiring that is enough to cover one and a third acres, if you purchase additional wires, you can actually extend the coverage of the SportDOG up to 100 acres. Now, just imagine the possibilities with this particular range. The kit also comes with a thousand feet of wire which you can demarcate your property boundaries as well as 100 pieces of training flags. You can purchase additional training flags if you do intend to extend the range of coverage of the SportDOG. The transmitter of this invisible fence can be programmed to work in 3 operating modes: tone, vibration, and static shock. For those who are concerned about the use of static electricity, this can be fine-tuned up to 4 different levels so you can choose the correct level of stimulation that will not bring harm to your pooch. Other added features include a powerful 9-volt battery that is guaranteed to last up to a year, lightning protection, wire break alarm, and an anti-linger feature.

What We Like about It – The superb range of the SportDOG is astounding. Add to this the superb features and you’ve easily got one of the best dog invisible fence systems in the world.

3Wireless Pet Containment System by PetSafe

Don’t like the idea of burying a wire in your property? Then you need the PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System. The advantage of this system over the others is that it is very easy to use as there are no wires to bury or lay out in your yard. The transmitter itself emits a radio signal up to a radius of 90 feet or an effective diameter of 180 feet. The range can be further extended up to half an acre of a circular area. This wireless pet fence is perfect for camping or even going to the park. You can easily set up the PetSafe WPCS and you now have an instant invisible dog fence. The waterproof collar comes with two modes of correction: tone and static correction. Static shock can be further fine-tuned in 5 levels. The downside is that, since there are no wires underground, the effective range of the Petsafe WPCS is dependent on existing topography as well as the presence of metal objects.

What We Like about It – The portable nature of the PetSafe WPCS makes it ideal for creating an invisible wall in places where you visit together with your pet.

4Professional Electric Dog Fence System by Extreme Dog Fence

For DIYers, the Extreme Dog Fence Professional Electric Dog Fence System offers a complete solution to setup your very own invisible fence for your pets. The system comes in a variety of configurations depending on the number of dogs that you have. It comes complete with boundary wires, twisted wires, a surge protector, training fence flags, and even professional grade splice kits. The digital transmitter has an effective range of 10 acres, greater than the Bark Solution’s 5 acres but definitely pales in comparison to the SportDOG’s 100 acres. The good thing about the Extreme Dog Fence is that the wiring can be installed either above ground or underground so you’ll have all the options you need.

What We Like about It – The Extreme Dog Fence is perfect for DIYers as it already comes complete with all the tools and materials you’ll ever need to complete the project.

5Basic In-Ground Fence by PetSafe 

Similarly-spec’d like the Bark Solution, the PetSafe Basic In-Ground Fence provides modest range of transmission which should be perfect for small backyards or properties. The PetSafe BIF invisible fence system has a range of only a third of an acre which can also be expanded up to 5 acres just like the Bark Solution. You will need to purchase additional wires and training fence flags should you decide to extend the coverage of your hidden dog fence. The PetSafe BIF comes with a Deluxe Ultralight Receiver Collar that has a fully integrated 2-mode correction: tone and static stimulation. PetSafe designed the tone only mode specifically for training purposes. Once your pooch has learned the boundaries of its area, you can effectively switch to the static stimulation mode. We found out that many consumers don’t feel a need for this as their pooches have already learned to stay away from those fence flags. Regardless, should you use the static stimulation mode, know that you can adjust the level of stimulation up to 4 stages.

What We Like about It – The PetSafe BIF is one truly functional invisible fence for dogs which is perfect for homes with medium sized lots.

How We Chose the Best Electronic Dog Fences in Our List

Our selection of the top wireless pet fence systems is a reflection of cutting edge technology that is highly effective, easy to install, has an excellent range, and provides superb protection for your beloved pets. These are the key parameters that made up the core of our selection process.

First is the overall technological design of the system. As a wireless pet containment system works on the transmission of radio signals, the overall design of the system must take into consideration all other factors that can affect the effectiveness of the invisible fence. It was imperative that the devices we chose have been duly tested and dutifully certified to meet the stringent requirements of recognized organizations.

Secondly, and related to the first, is the range of its coverage. Since we are talking about an invisible fence, its effectiveness is largely limited by its range. The greater the coverage, the better it is for our pets as they will have more room to roam around. It is also possible to get a device that has moderate coverage. However, this might have an impact on the overall invisible fence cost.

Third is the system’s ease of installation. This is a very important consideration since what we would like to share with you are products that will not require a bachelor’s degree. Of course, you may need several tools but nothing very fancy. We want to give you a system that you can easily take out of its packaging, map out how you want it installed, and then simply install it. The sooner you can get the whole system up and running, the sooner you can start training your pet pooch.

Fourth is the protection the system affords your pet. Since these electronic devices work like an electronic collar that has several levels of correction to help you train your pooch not to go anywhere near “forbidden” or “off limits” areas, it is crucial that the amount of behavioral correction, be it vibration or static shock, should not hurt our pets. As such, we looked for products that have been endorsed or have been recommended by recognized pet organizations as well as by animal rights movements.

Other considerations included the invisible fence cost including its cost of installation, operation, and maintenance and the reviews or feedbacks from very satisfied customers. The latter formed the initial screening parameter to help us reduce the number of possible candidates to just the top five. The reputation of the manufacturer was also given substantial points as we would never really trust a company that is relatively inexperienced or has a shady background.

What we aimed to provide is only the best electronic dog fences you can use in your property so your pooch will have a great time playing right at home without intruding in your neighbor’s property as well as keep the neighborhood association happy.

A Primer on Electronic Dog Fences

We all know what a perimeter fence is. For those of us who would like to keep unwanted persons and other possible intruders off our property, we often build a fence around our property. This is to demarcate the boundaries of our home. What is inside this barrier is considered to be our property while those outside of it are either public property or someone else’s property. We also put up fences as a matter of improving the landscape of our homes.

Electronic dog fences work in pretty much the same principle as the barrier we put up around our homes. While the technology itself is not new, there is an increasing demand for such devices not necessarily for security purposes but for compliance with neighborhood and local restrictions to pet ownerships.

You see, because people are now moving away from congested city living areas to the suburbs, there is a growing number of neighborhoods and subdivisions. Along with this growth are certain restrictions in the type, size, and even the existence of any barrier or fencing system. Many suburban subdivisions today do not have fences as they would like to have an open system. This can have severe implications in the freedom of movement of our pets. If we are not able to contain our pets within the premises of our property and they inadvertently defecate in someone else’s lawn or even pass stools or urinate in common areas, we earn the ire not only of the affected individual but the entire neighborhood association as well.

But our pets need exercise and they need to be able to move freely about. If we have pets and we’re going to contain them in their kennels or crates for the rest of their lives, then what does that make us? As such, we need to put a wireless pet fence that will keep our dogs within the premises of our very own property without encroaching on the land or backyard of our neighbors.

Regardless of the maker or the brand that makes the system, all wireless pet containment systems are essentially composed of the same basic elements. These include the following.

  • A wireless transmitter

The transmitter is the heart and soul of the whole system. It is the device that effectively sends out radio signals that travel through the wiring system that is often buried underground. Different transmitters provide different levels of behavioral corrections. This simply means that if our pet dog happens to be close enough to the signal, it activates a programmed correction level on the wireless receiver found on our mutt’s collar. If our pet ignores the correction, then a sufficiently higher level of correction is initiated until such time that our pet will learn that it is not safe to go near this particular part of the yard.

Since the transmitter sends out radio signals to a wireless receiver, you can actually put a wireless receiver on every collar of each of your dogs so you will be able to train them as a group. However, it is worth remembering that, while the wireless dog fence is effective in preventing our pets from going outside the established boundaries as defined by the wireless fence, it cannot prevent other dogs from entering the same premises. This is because other dogs don’t have the wireless receiver that our pooches are wearing. The implication should be fairly obvious. If we have a female mutt and she is in heat, we may have to keep her inside our home as the scent of her being in heat will naturally attract male pooches in the area. Of course, you can have your pooch spayed if you are not intent on breeding. Otherwise, it is best to talk with your veterinarian to discuss possible options.

  • An underground wire 

The wire is technically the avenue upon which the radio signals emitted by the transmitter travels. While you don’t necessarily have to bury the wire, it is often recommended to bury it at least an inch below the ground. If you are not going to bury it, just make sure that you know exactly where it runs so you’re not going to hit it with your lawn mower. Before installing the wire of the invisible fence, it is often advisable to map out the course of the wire in your property first. You can put pegs or stakes in the ground or stretch your garden hose so you’ll have an idea of how it will look (well, invisibly, of course). Some actually recommend spraying the course with a paint so you’ll have a better visualization of the placement of the wiring.

In planning the layout of the wiring it is imperative that you consider any sections that you also want to enclose. For instance, you may want to put an invisible fence around your swimming pool or even your flower or vegetable garden to keep out your pet. To enclose this part of your property, you’ll need to twist together the wires between your primary enclosure and the secondary enclosure. This cancels out the signals emitted by the section of the wire that is between the primary enclosure and the secondary enclosure so your pet can roam freely in this space.

  • The wireless receiver 

The third part of the wireless pet fence system is the wireless device that effectively receives the radio signals from the wiring. Technically, you can buy as many receivers as you want for all of your dogs. Many kits already come with a collar. Some will only have the receiver itself. In cases where the accompanying collar doesn’t fit your pet, it is advisable to just buy one from your trusted pet store and just attach the receiver to it. It is critical to get a receiver that is both waterproof and lightweight so that it will not really be burdensome for your mutt.

So, how does an underground pet fence work? We will try to explain it step by step in the hope that it will help you better understand just how a wireless pet containment system works.

  • First, the transmitter sends out radio signals through the entire length of the underground wiring. Depending on the model of the transmitter, the range can be anywhere from around 10 to 15 feet. There are also systems that operate on two different signals. This is particularly beneficial in instances where you have a pet that doesn’t necessarily reacts to low power corrections.
  • Second, the underground wiring continuously emits these radio signals that are picked up by the receiver on the collar of your pet. If your pet gets within range of this radio signal, within 10 to 15 feet depending on the model of the transmitter, it triggers a behavioral correction. This can be in the form of a vibration or even a static shock which tells the dog that it is already in dangerous territory and that it should stop and turn back.

It is important to note that the whole system is one continuous loop. The transmitter sends out radio signals that travel along the wiring and then back again to the transmitter.

Let’s try to look at the behavioral correction in these devices as it has become a point of controversy over the years with many animal rights advocates saying that it is a cruel way of teaching or training pets. First off, the invisible fence system is taken as a psychological device wherein a pet learns not to stray beyond recognized boundaries. Depending on the model of the unseen dog fence that you get, you can have up to three different kinds or modes of operation: a warning only mode, a warning plus correction mode, and a correction only mode.

In advanced systems, if your pet gets near the outer perimeter of the transmitter’s range, it triggers a warning sound or a beeping sound. This means that your pet has just stepped into the zone. It now needs to heed this warning. If in case it ignores the auditory warning and proceeds further into the zone, the transmitter emits a slower beeping tone. If your pet still pursues its direction, a correction is initiated. This can be in the form of a static shock or a sudden burst of citronella spray. This is where many have issues with. The static shock is likened to the kind of shock we get when we touch something metallic after rubbing our feet across a carpet. The citronella spray is quite annoying to the sensitive nose of your pooch. Experts say neither systems does harm to the dog. The whole experience teaches your dog not to stray in these particular areas of the house as it will receive either a static shock or a dose of citronella spray.

However, animal experts especially behaviorists say that shocking dogs, or any pets for that matter, is never a good way to train them as it not only affects problem behavior but also normal canine behavior. What is being instilled is fear. That is why many animal rights advocates question the safety and ethics of electric fences.

Nevertheless, for those who insist on using an invisible fence, it is very important to train your mutt about the system before you can let pooch roam freely in your backyard. The response that we would like to see from our pets is that they should back off at the sign of the first warning. Although there will always be instances when our pets will test the limits of these invisible boundaries, it is important to be patient in retraining them.

Now, why would you want to invest in an invisible fence just for your pooch? Studies have shown that it is the most cost effective way to contain our pets especially if our neighborhood requires us not to have any specific kind of fencing system in place. When a wooden privacy fence is built around our property, the total cost alone can amount to more than $2,000, not including the sweat and effort of digging holes for your fence posts and all other related carpentry work. If we build a chain link fence, we are able to reduce the cost to just around $1,400, again not including labor. If we compare these to the invisible fence cost, it will only take us around $250 or so and we don’t even have to dig holes or anything. If we do have to bury the wiring, one or two inches of earth should suffice. Clearly, the invisible fence cost only a fraction of what we would spend on a physical wooden fence.

The Bottom Line

While there are against the use of a wireless pet containment system, the ease and practicality of its installation in relation to neighborhood fence requirements make it a viable alternative for pet owners. This is where proper pet training comes in so that our dogs will not be subjected to unnecessary correction. Hopefully, our list of the best electronic dog fences can give you a headstart in your invisible fence project.

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Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!
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